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Old 06-29-2017, 01:25 PM   #1
JacktheDumb
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Replacing people with robots

Iam just going to put out the question right away.

"If you find out that you could replace 10-20% of your company's employees with IT solutions, what would you do?"


Iam currently challenged with a questions like this at work and i don't like the answer(s).
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Old 06-29-2017, 01:42 PM   #2
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Re: Replacing people with robots

You already do. Without computers (an IT solution) the manpower would be incredibly greater. When the computer was invented and its potential utilized, it put many people out of work, far more than 10%-20%.
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Old 06-29-2017, 01:50 PM   #3
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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You already do. Without computers (an IT solution) the manpower would be incredibly greater. When the computer was invented and its potential utilized, it put many people out of work, far more than 10%-20%.
Yeah, iam not new to automation, but (1) i never have been in a position were i would make the decision and (2) i think we are at a point were we create less jobs then we destroy (which is new).
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:10 PM   #4
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Re: Replacing people with robots

even automation services are starting to be automated - on the IT side alone, internal staffing needs expected to shrink by 40% in the next 7 or so years. What's driving that downward is the proliferation of better/more efficient platforms that offer these services.

as for the "choice" factor, there really isn't much of one IMO. From a binary standpoint you must seek automation or be outpaced by the market; maybe there are options or situations where you can delay or avoid it, but on the whole it must be considered and embraced where possible or risk being stepped over.

the trick is (for employers and employees) to seek more and more specialization from their existing team to remain competitive in the job market and a viable part of the organization. To your point, you are probably right in that an apples to apples breakdown would show automation costs more jobs than it makes (primarily due to the speed of innovation and delivery of these new services.) but that is why you have to look at the employment spectrum non-linearly (i.e. a person losing their job on a manufacturing line getting training to step into a whole new industry or job role versus them losing their job to automation on the assembly line and simply going to another place who hasn't yet adopted automation, until they do.)
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:17 PM   #5
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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Originally Posted by JacktheDumb View Post
Iam just going to put out the question right away.

"If you find out that you could replace 10-20% of your company's employees with IT solutions, what would you do?"
Of course you got to automation. Why would you want people doing jobs that don't need to be done? That's insane. No one likes working. Are you a sadist or something, that likes to have people doing useless work for no reason?
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Yeah, iam not new to automation, but (1) i never have been in a position were i would make the decision and (2) i think we are at a point were we create less jobs then we destroy (which is new).
That's a good thing. There are far fewer jobs/working hours required for the same amount of goods now. If people hadn't automated, we'd all be farmers using hand tools and living the life of peasant serfs.

It's not like there's a shortage of things that people want. When you automate, you give people in aggregate either:

- More leisure time
- Higher quality (more desired) goods and services

That is a good thing. There is no decision to be made here. If automating is cheaper, you automate.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:26 PM   #6
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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Of course you got to automation. Why would you want people doing jobs that don't need to be done? That's insane. No one likes working. Are you a sadist or something, that likes to have people doing useless work for no reason?

That's a good thing. There are far fewer jobs/working hours required for the same amount of goods now. If people hadn't automated, we'd all be farmers using hand tools and living the life of peasant serfs.

It's not like there's a shortage of things that people want. When you automate, you give people in aggregate either:

- More leisure time
- Higher quality (more desired) goods and services

That is a good thing. There is no decision to be made here. If automating is cheaper, you automate.
Yeah sure, nobody likes working, but i haven't meet anyone so far who likes to be unemployed and poor.We dont have a society in place that would allow those people to be even close to having the quality of life you are talking about.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:33 PM   #7
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Re: Replacing people with robots

If they're capable employees, they'll find other jobs. If they're not, why are you employing them in the first place?

You're going to be laying people off in the coming recession anyway (we're 8 years into a recovery cycle). In the long run it's much better for everyone if a decent-hearted boss like yourself has a robust business so you can survive the downturn. That's when you don't want to be firing people. That's when you're actually going to mess people up by firing them. Firing them when unemployment is at 4.2% is not an unjust hardship at all.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:44 PM   #8
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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If they're capable employees, they'll find other jobs. If they're not, why are you employing them in the first place?
Give me 20 million and i can automate 50% of the work a lawyer does within 5 years. How will 50% of lawyers find a job?
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:02 PM   #9
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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Give me 20 million and i can automate 50% of the work a lawyer does within 5 years. How will 50% of lawyers find a job?
The ~70% of the workforce that were farmers managed to find new jobs - there are now 3% left. The world is a far better place for it.

What exactly is your moral predicament? I don't understand. Do you believe people have a right to continue to be employed in the industry they chose to be trained in?

I feel some pity for the lowest end of the cognitive range (McDonalds workers, etc) when they're replaced by machinery. Because many of them are poor and live paycheck to paycheck and it's not as easy for them to reskill. But why feel sorry for lawyers? They're some of the most adaptable and conscientious people out there. If anyone can cope and thrive with being out of work and having to retrain, it's them.

Your claims about how much you could automate legal work are impressive. If so, you should be busy getting rich doing just that.
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:30 PM   #10
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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Originally Posted by JacktheDumb View Post
Give me 20 million and i can automate 50% of the work a lawyer does within 5 years. How will 50% of lawyers find a job?
think too of how automation can help a workforce scale and specialize. If implemented properly, and the remaining workforce is trained on new or more targeted services, they can be an enabling factor for improvement of a staff (versus a disabling or limiting factor.)

Plus automation does not usually completely replace entire units of production (provided by humans) all at once, if ever; most often it is a gradual process whereby there are still some elements of that job function requiring human execution. This means automation is less likely to replace 50% of the total lawyers out there (forcing those people have to find new jobs or compete for a smaller pool of jobs), but more likely to be that it eliminates 50% of what a lawyer used to do to support their clients. So the bigger question is how (or maybe if) a lawyer is able to calibrate and reinvest that time saved into those areas that do require execution by their own hands - consultation, business development, client management, courtroom activities etc. digital calendars didn't displace assistants/secretaries/admins, it just gave them more scale to do what they are doing and forced them to evolve towards supporting new areas with their time. Automation is more often that example than a total production killer. in those cases where the eventuality is complete displacement, then you just have to hope that it occurs over enough a period of time to let people adopt to new roles or new functions in that or other businesses/industries.
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:45 PM   #11
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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Originally Posted by JacktheDumb View Post
Iam just going to put out the question right away.

"If you find out that you could replace 10-20% of your company's employees with IT solutions, what would you do?"


Iam currently challenged with a questions like this at work and i don't like the answer(s).
You're doing a disservice to employees who are performing a job that can be automated at a reasonable cost. Their time would be better spent learning a skill in high demand.



Man minus the Machine is a slave; Man plus the Machine is a freeman

- Henry Ford
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:35 PM   #12
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Re: Replacing people with robots

Thread title needs the word "jerbz."

op,

Please explain why "this time is different" when it comes to the age old freakout over technology temporarily eliminating some jobs.
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:04 PM   #13
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Re: Replacing people with robots

Eliminate the jobs, also put a space between "iam" plz.
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Old 06-30-2017, 01:46 AM   #14
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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Thread title needs the word "jerbz."

op,

Please explain why "this time is different" when it comes to the age old freakout over technology temporarily eliminating some jobs.
1. New industries dont create as much jobs as they destroy anymore. Facebook and Google altogether do have less then 100 000 employees. That is a small number compared to the league they play in. The Fortune 500 are in the process of releasing more employees then they hire since around 20 years. Wags decline in the western worlds since around 30 years.

2. Specialization is not a solution. With current advances in AI and machine learning, machines are able to have more knowledge in fields then the experts of those fields. Googles Alpha Go beat the best Go player in the world and IBM´s Watson beat people at Jeopardy. AI can be taught now to do many of those specialized tasks and more.
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:02 AM   #15
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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1. New industries dont create as much jobs as they destroy anymore. Facebook and Google altogether do have less then 100 000 employees. That is a small number compared to the league they play in. The Fortune 500 are in the process of releasing more employees then they hire since around 20 years. Wags decline in the western worlds since around 30 years.
Wages are in decline because of Chinese, Mexican, etc duplication of capital and slave labor via globalization. Wage stagnation and labor participation decline has precisely zero to do with technology.

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2. Specialization is not a solution. With current advances in AI and machine learning, machines are able to have more knowledge in fields then the experts of those fields. Googles Alpha Go beat the best Go player in the world and IBM´s Watson beat people at Jeopardy. AI can be taught now to do many of those specialized tasks and more.
Much of what lawyers do is moronic and simple. It's going to be a long time before programmers or mathematicians are replaced. Or construction workers or masseurs or psychologists or nannies or tennis coaches, for that matter. And once they are, work is relevant, since robots will be able to do all human tasks.

You could have 50% employment from personal services alone (massages, makeup and beauty, psychologists, interior decorating, holiday retreats, etc). There is an endless demand - human wants max out somewhere around the level of a king, and even then there are still wants.

The idea that jobs are getting destroyed and not being replaced because of technology is a nonsense. If you care about American jobs, refuse to buy anything from China. That's where our jobs are being stolen via them stealing our know-how via horrific cheating at international trade rules (for example, forcing companies to do joint ventures, build factories in China and transfer all their intellectual property to the Chinese government if they want to access the large Chinese consumer market).

But you won't do that because you couldn't really give a **** about employees losing their job. You're just posturing. If you did you would have thought about this a lot more and the real reason why people are losing work.
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:36 AM   #16
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Re: Replacing people with robots

people who are scared of automation do have a point. In the long run it will be beneficial. But if a lot of jobs are wiped out too fast, it might cause economic shocks.

Economic growth basically happens from the destruction of old jobs that are inefficient and creating new ones in place that are more efficient. But if the wiping out of old jobs happens too fast, and people cannot retrain in time for new jobs, it will make a small group of people much richer while a lot of other people will be left behind. So quick retraining of unemployed is very important.

A 49 year old lawyer, or a 53 year old factory worker, they will not find new jobs easily in a more automated economy. They are not going to be good enough software engineers within 2-3 years to find new jobs. You could have an elysium type of situation. Where large groups of people have very little bargaining power, and a small group a very large amount of bargaining power. So overall economic wealth per capita goes up but it is more and more concentrated.
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:54 AM   #17
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Re: Replacing people with robots

What I am proposing, in brief, is that the Work Ethic (find a Master to employ you for wages, or live in squalid poverty) is obsolete. A Work Esthetic will have to arise to replace this old Stone Age syndrome of the slave, the peasant, the serf, the prole, the wage-worker — the human labor-machine who is not fully a person but, as Marx said, ” a tool, an automaton.” Delivered from the role of things and robots, people will learn to become fully developed persons, in the sense of the Human Potential movement. They will not seek work out of economic necessity, but out of psychological necessity — as an outlet for their creative potential.

(“Creative potential” is not a panchreston. It refers to the inborn drive to play, to tinker, to explore, and to experiment, shown by every child before his or her mental processes are stunted by authoritarian education and operant-conditioned wage-robotry.)

As Bucky Fuller says, the first thought of people, once they are delivered from wage slavery, will be, “What was it that I was so interested in as a youth, before I was told I had to earn a living?” The answer to that question, coming from millions and then billions of persons liberated from mechanical toil, will make the Renaissance look like a high school science fair or a Greenwich Village art show. -- Robert Anton Wilson
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Old 06-30-2017, 03:12 AM   #18
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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people who are scared of automation do have a point. In the long run it will be beneficial. But if a lot of jobs are wiped out too fast, it might cause economic shocks.
Can you name a time when new technology/automation/more efficient work flows have caused economic shocks?
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Old 06-30-2017, 04:39 AM   #19
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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Wages are in decline because of Chinese, Mexican, etc duplication of capital and slave labor via globalization. Wage stagnation and labor participation decline has precisely zero to do with technology.
What is the difference for a person whether or not it gets replaced by some guy on the other end of the world that does the work cheaper or getting replaced by a machine on the other end of the world who does the work cheaper. According to your logic this isn't a problem. One of the reasons we can outsource many of those tasks to other country's is the ability of real time communication aka. technology. Sure there are many reasons and a lot of the work just shift to development country's. But even though, bottom line s productive rises while wages decline in the west. Why would you think productivity rises through automation will change that trend?

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Much of what lawyers do is moronic and simple. It's going to be a long time before programmers or mathematicians are replaced. Or construction workers or masseurs or psychologists or nannies or tennis coaches, for that matter. And once they are, work is relevant, since robots will be able to do all human tasks.
I dont think you are up to date what digitization currently can do and were it will lead. We are currently teaching machines how to write code. Oh look! A construction robot.


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You could have 50% employment from personal services alone (massages, makeup and beauty, psychologists, interior decorating, holiday retreats, etc). There is an endless demand - human wants max out somewhere around the level of a king, and even then there are still wants.
For those services to exist you need people who can afford them. We already established that wages are declining so there are less people who can afford those services. Of course some of those services will get cheaper like a massages because it turns out... it can be automated.

So what do we do with those 50% we dont have any employment for?

Last edited by JacktheDumb; 06-30-2017 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 06-30-2017, 04:52 AM   #20
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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Can you name a time when new technology/automation/more efficient work flows have caused economic shocks?
Never happened because this time it is different. First muscle was replaced by machines, then simple repetitive tasks were done by machines. But that created a ton more of simple repetitive jobs that were more difficult to automate away (like driving). The difference is that now they will be automated away as well, and the last jobs standing will be engineering, creative jobs, service jobs requiring a human touch (empathy) and programming.

The problem is that in order to do most of those jobs well, they require a lot more training and a much more flexible mind than what happened in past automations. So in the past the guy who lit the street gas lights manually would go work in a factory where they made electric lights. And much more people could get street lights as a result. Because it required barely more training. Now the guy in the office or driving a truck need to learn how to code, or do other complicated stuff with a much steeper learning curve to keep participating.

You might say that automation will create more simple jobs, but I kinda doubt that.

Enter some sort of massive breakthrough in AI in the mix, and things could get ugly fast.

edit: ALso add in people (like in law) with expensive degrees that end up being worth a lot less or useless altogether, which further complicates things.
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Old 06-30-2017, 05:00 AM   #21
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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What is the difference for a person whether or not it gets replaced by some guy on the other end of the world that does the work cheaper or getting replaced by a machine on the other end of the world who does the work cheaper. According to your logic this isn't a problem.
The problem with the other person doing it is that we give them money - a claim on our assets - for doing that work. We don't give that to robots. That mass outward flow of wealth and knowledge to other countries is what's causing wage stagnation, not automation. People in the US are becoming less wealthy because they do less work that other people want and less capital put to use in the US and a declining knowledge/know how gap as we bleed of technology to cheating China who's forcing technology transfers.
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I dont think you are up to date what digitization currently can do and were it will lead. We are currently teaching machines how to write code. Oh look! A construction robot.
I'm well up with what is coming and what's here now. Computers will not replace programmers at writing code until computers are as intelligent as humans (i.e. full fluid contextual understanding). Most functions of doctors will be replaced well before programmers are.
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I am not saying we are going to replace all work, but we are going t replace a lot.
Sure, eventually we'll replace all work. Human level or greater AI + robotics guarantees that. It's not going to happen quickly though. It will be decades, with plenty of time to adjust.

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For those services to exist you need people who can afford them. We already established that wages are declining so there are less people who can afford those services.
Globally, wages are not declining.
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Of course some of those services will get cheaper like a massage because it turns out... it can be automated.

So what do we do with those 50% we dont have any employment for?
Just how many people do you think are employed right now? What percentage of the population? Answer that and you'll see why there's zero problem here.
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Old 06-30-2017, 05:07 AM   #22
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Re: Replacing people with robots

What about the issue with automation that most of the tech/patents/productivity/profits from it are going to such a small number of players?

Agree that parts of the service sector can always flourish if other jobs are automated away but if fewer and fewer own these assets, how can service jobs flourish to take the automated jobs place? It will be tougher for people to have the disposable income necessary to get massages, eat out, go on vacations, etc

Basically like 50 companies with maybe 500k employees are going to own all of the robotics/AI/automation assets.
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Old 06-30-2017, 05:22 AM   #23
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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What about the issue with automation that most of the tech/patents/productivity/profits from it are going to such a small number of players?
The profits go to people who own the stock. Microsoft's vast tech profits, returning about 8%/year, can be had by what you get paid for doing a few haircuts.

There's no issue here and no hoarding. The proletariat have an enormous advantage over the rich in what returns they can achieve. They are just too ****ing stupid to buy stocks. How do you fix stupid?

What will likely happen is that the most important companies will nationalized, and everyone will get some shares. That's pretty much what happens now - much of US industry and nearly all tech and its profits are openly available for public purchase and participation by anyone with $50 in their pocket.

Quote:
Agree that parts of the service sector can always flourish if other jobs are automated away but if fewer and fewer own these assets, how can service jobs flourish to take the automated jobs place? It will be tougher for people to have the disposable income necessary to get massages, eat out, go on vacations, etc
Again, stock ownership will provide this. Just like it does now for retirees.

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Basically like 50 companies with maybe 500k employees are going to own all of the robotics/AI/automation assets.
And who's going to own the companies? The populace at large.
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Old 06-30-2017, 05:37 AM   #24
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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The problem with the other person doing it is that we give them money - a claim on our assets - for doing that work. We don't give that to robots. That mass outward flow of wealth and knowledge to other countries is what's causing wage stagnation, not automation. People in the US are becoming less wealthy because they do less work that other people want and less capital put to use in the US and a declining knowledge/know how gap as we bleed of technology to cheating China who's forcing technology transfers.
The current Fed interest rate is where? 1,25 %? I would go so far to say that there isn't a lack of capital. Look how the stock markets are booming. At least the money now goes to consumers of different countrys who spend some of their money on foreign goods and services. With automation this decline will only get worse. The money will go to those who own the machines.

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I'm well up with what is coming and what's here now. Computers will not replace programmers at writing code until computers are as intelligent as humans (i.e. full fluid contextual understanding). Most functions of doctors will be replaced well before programmers are.

Sure, eventually we'll replace all work. Human level or greater AI + robotics guarantees that. It's not going to happen quickly though. It will be decades, with plenty of time to adjust.
We are more or less on the same page here. There is a time table for many professions when they will be replaced... Autonomous driving is still around 20-30 years ago. This is enough time to adapt. For some it will be faster, for some it will be slower. how many decades do you think it is? Doesnt seem like it would be way more then 50 years. And it starts now, so yes there is plenty of time to adjust but we have to start adjusting now.


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Old 06-30-2017, 05:48 AM   #25
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Re: Replacing people with robots

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The current Fed interest rate is where? 1,25 %? I would go so far to say that there isn't a lack of capital. Look how the stock markets are booming. At least the money now goes to consumers of different countrys who spend some of their money on foreign goods and services. With automation this decline will only get worse. The money will go to those who own the machines.
There isn't a lack of available capital. There's a lack of capital spent in the US as opposed to elsewhere and then imported into the US.
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We are more or less on the same page here. There is a time table for many professions when they will be replaced... Autonomous driving is still around 20-30 years ago. This is enough time to adapt. For some it will be faster, for some it will be slower. how many decades do you think it is? Doesnt seem like it would be way more then 50 years. And it starts now, so yes there is plenty of time to adjust but we have to start adjusting now.
I think it depends on how complex the brain is. If intelligent human thought arises out of simple iterative instructions on top of learning hardware that reorganizes based on input in simple ways, then we'll get to human level AI as soon we build brain-equivalent hardware - 100 billion neurons connected with changeable dendrite-equivalents between them. Less than 20 years, I would say.

If the brain is far more complex than that and there are mechanisms within neurons as well that are essential for thought, it may be a lot longer until we can nano engineer what we need.

I don't buy that raw processing power is sufficient. You will need learning hardware; you can do things in 3D self programmable hardware that you can't simulate in fixed hardware. Round tripping times and all that. Even many experts seem not to grasp this concept.

Human level and beyond robotics I think will be largely solved in 20 years. Probably 10 for the first robotic soldiers that are as deadly or more than humans, working within a limited scope (entering buildings, recognizing weapons and combatants, etc). Process workers with human level hand dexterity and object recognition in 10 years. The bottleneck for non process work will ultimately be the level of AI available.

What do you think? You seem to have a longer timeline. For example, I think autonomous cars are fully her in less than 10 years. You think 20 to 30?
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